2018 Misano MotoGP Race Result: Fast But Not That Furious

In a very welcome view and temperature, the Misano circuit was basking in bright sunshine for the start of the premier class show. With the tarmac burning more than at any other time in the weekend, a few more questions were asked of tyre choice but the answers did not seem to make that much of a difference to the script of the play.

The appointed favourites rose to the challenge but only two of them saw the checkered flag with a smile on their face, Andrea Dovizioso radiating after utterly dominating proceedings. The Italian ran away with the big trophy after a clear home win – his first at the circuit and making it three in a row for Ducati for the first time in a decade. Marc Marquez looked like a safe bet for a sixth consecutive podium and late heartbreak for Jorge Lorenzo allowed him a safe second, ahead of a lucky but there-when-it-mattered Cal Crutchlow.

Poleman Lorenzo had made an excellent start, keeping Jack Miller at bay while Marquez swiftly recovered the deficit from qualifying to engage in battle with Dovizioso. The familiar duo demoted front row starter Maverick Viñales early on and Dovizioso in particular was determined not to let his teammate make an escape at the front. Alex Rins, Crutchlow, Valentino Rossi, Johann Zarco and Dani Pedrosa were following the leaders without making any big moves yet.

Marquez barged past Miller on the second lap to immediately start pursuit of the factory Ducatis, who were pulling away by almost a second. The Spaniard was immediately on red hot pace but Miller could not keep up with the world champion and crashed out by the end of that very lap. That left Viñales to stalk the podium but the Yamaha man was once again suffering in the early stages of the race and had dropped a second behind the three leaders. Rins felt like Viñales was holding him up and picked up the lead of the chasing group, which also included Crutchlow, Rossi, Pedrosa and Morbidelli. Crutchlow soon made it past Viñales, in an almost synchronised move with Pedrosa on Rossi.

Despite being glued to the back of his leading teammate, Dovizioso did not attempt an attack until the start of lap six, as he was getting pressured from behind by the world champion. As the Ducatis were swapping places, Marquez was sizing up the prey, no worries yet from behind as the pack led by Rins was two seconds back. That chasing group was quickly dissolved by the Yamahas lacking few tenths, with Rins and Crutchlow running away from Viñales by over a second, while Pedrosa – stuck between the two Yamahas – was eager to get past his sluggish (compared to race pace) compatriot as well.

Back at the front, the three favourites were holding station and Marquez kept his cards close to his chest but alarm bells started ringing as Lorenzo was losing some ground to his teammate, the gap getting to a full second. Whether it was strategy or a real tyre wear issue, Marquez did not let Lorenzo tempt him and allowed Dovizioso the one second gap, but the future teammates were not letting the distance get much bigger.

Halfway into the race, Marquez lost patience and took Lorenzo’s invitation in turn 14 but the championship leader was left with a 1.8 second gap to Dovizioso and not really shaking off the other pesky Ducati. Crutchow was best of the rest, three seconds down on the podium battle and having gotten the best of Rins, whose soft tyre issues started early. The Suzuki man was stuck in no man’s land, another two seconds ahead of the Yamaha-Pedrosa sandwich.

Despite Lorenzo’s rear tyre looking a bit second hand, the Spaniard was keen to retaliate on his compatriot, who was not making any impression on the leader. Temptation was too high and the duo were not keen to surrender, their close exchange allowing Dovizioso to make a serious escape. Meanwhile, the quickest man on track was Crutchlow, who was bringing the gap to the leaders down to two seconds as well.

With nine laps left, Marquez’s tight line no longer halted Lorenzo’s persistent advances and the Ducati picked up the task of chasing down his teammate once again. Feeling confident at the front, Dovizioso slowed down the pace a little, allowing the gap to drop to two seconds, dangling the carrot in the face of the two feisty Spaniards but it was still too much time to make up for the duo. A lonely Crutchlow looked to be settling for fourth, with Rins seven seconds back but still holding back the threat of Viñales, both Spaniards on the risky soft rear.

The final five laps saw the gap at the front finally drop under two seconds, once Marquez stopped his attacks on Lorenzo and allowed his rival some space to pull back Dovizioso. Although the gap was still significant, the chasing duo dipped into the 1:32s for those final laps and posted their fastest laps of the race, just enough to give a hurry-up to the Italian.

Despite the delicious prospect of last lap war, Dovizioso had it under control all along and kept his rivals at bay to the flag, ultimately pressurising Lorenzo into a late mistake on the penultimate lap, the poleman crashing out at turn eight, leaving Marquez to cruise home in second and promoting Crutchlow to an unlikely podium. Rins was best of the rest in fourth, while the Yamahas never turned up to the party as promised, Viñales crossing the line fifth, Pedrosa’s sixth separating him from teammate Rossi in seventh place, almost 20 seconds behind the winner. Some fairly anonymous rides from Andrea Iannone, Alvaro Bautista and Zarco completed the top ten.

Dovizioso’s commanding victory combined with Lorenzo’s disappointment and Rossi’s anonymity makes him Marquez’s main rival in the title battle once again, albeit 67 points behind the reigning world champion. Rossi drops to third, with a 70-point deficit, while Lorenzo is fourth, 91 points down.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati 42'05.426
2 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda +2.822
3 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +7.269
4 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +14.687
5 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +16.016
6 26 Dani PEDROSA Honda +17.408
7 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +19.086
8 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki +21.804
9 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati +23.919
10 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha +27.559
11 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +30.698
12 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda +32.941
13 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +33.461
14 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +35.686
15 51 Michele PIRRO Ducati +35.812
16 38 Bradley SMITH KTM +46.500
17 99 Jorge LORENZO Ducati +46.614
18 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +50.593
19 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha +55.168
20 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +1'02.255
21 45 Scott REDDING Aprilia +1'09.475
22 12 Thomas LUTHI Honda +1'12.608
23 23 Christophe PONSSON Ducati 1 Lap
    Not Classified    
  6 Stefan BRADL Honda 10 Laps
  44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM 10 Laps
  10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati 25 Laps
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Round Number: 
13
2018
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Total votes: 20

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Comments

Dovi clearly had the race pace all weekend long, yet he was hardly mentioned as a race winning contender in GP mainstream media. I enjoyed the demolition derby he executed on the day. Clinical passes, race pace management etc. Passing at the mickey mouse Misano circuit is tough at best and he made it look easy. Great ride DesmoDovi. I watched the warm up and noted Marc and Dovi just put in lap after lap with no bike, nor setup swaps. Both were brutally quick lap after lap. So I opened a bottle, placed a bet or two and said to those present...Dovi is going to win in Italy, Marc is going to control the championship and thats how it panned out. Jorge put up a great fight for sure. 15 seconds back to 4th place Alex Rins? Huh! I need to give a shout out to Christoffe Ponsson. He did a fine job of his first GP. Drafted in, got quicker and quicker, got lapped in the race, which was expected. Thing is he never put a foot wrong and finished. Salute. Nice ride. He just put himself on the radar.

Total votes: 14

Considering all the naysayers Christoph Ponsson did a sterling job. I mean look at the talent on the grid! Well done. Unsung hero of the weekend for me. Was very disappointed with Lorenzo's crash. I really want him to finish the year ahead of Dovi in terms of points. The Ducatis are the best machines on the grid now. Period. Only reason Marc is still ahead in the championship is because of his consistency and because he is Marc. I am convinced.

Total votes: 20

Totally agree with you about MM's consistency. It's why we have that old chestnut about it and championships.

Curious why JL over AD for you. Is it to stick it to Domenicali for driving JL away? Or just preferring JL? JL looked marginally out of sorts going into that turn but I wouldn't have guessed it would wash out the front. I was hoping for a Ducati 1-2. I think JL has good odds to win on three different manufacturers.

Three Italian wins yesterday. Ibirians on step two then other nations on step three. Crowd was happy. I could look it up but I'm lazy... I wonder when was the last time Misano heard three Italian anthems?

Total votes: 5

The prospect of Marquez and Lorenzo on the same spec Repsol Honda next year is mouthwatering.  I expect fireworks when they are both battling for the podium because as David reminds us, the first person you must beat on track is your teammate.  

Total votes: 5